Michael Jackson Fans Sue for “Emotional Damage” Suffered From His Death and Somehow Win—About a Buck Fifty Each.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 11 2014 5:19 PM

Michael Jackson Fans Sue for “Emotional Damage” Suffered From His Death and Somehow Win—About a Buck Fifty Each.

88846331-michael-jackson-fan-writes-on-a-memorial-poster-outside
A Michael Jackson fan writes on a memorial poster outside Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 5, 2009.

Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images

When a celebrity dies, some fans take it harder than others. Most find ways to grieve—from flowers and tributes at a fallen star’s home to Facebook remembrances. But moving on is more difficult for some. And for those that a Twitter salute isn’t enough, you can always take action—legal action.

That’s exactly what 34 distraught fans decided to do in France in the wake of global pop icon Michael Jackson’s death in 2009. The fans brought their suit against Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, who served a two-year prison sentence for his role administering the singer what turned out to be a lethal dose of the anaesthetic propofol. The plaintiffs claimed in court they had suffered “emotional damage” from Jackson’s death at the hands of Murray. On Tuesday, five of those fans actually claimed victory, albeit a symbolic one, in French court, which ruled that they had successfully proven they had endured emotional suffering as the result of the King of Pop’s death and were awarded damages—of one euro each (about $1.36).

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Here’s more on the unusual case from Agence France Presse:

The court ruled that five of the plaintiffs—two from France, two from Switzerland and one from Belgium—had proven emotional suffering from Jackson's death. "As far as I know this is the first time in the world that the notion of emotional damage in connection with a pop star has been recognised," their lawyer, Emmanuel Ludot, told AFP. He praised the plaintiffs for "going through with the process despite the sneers" it aroused. He said they had proven their suffering "with the help of witness statements and medical certificates." The case was brought by a group known as the "Michael Jackson Community" based near Orleans in central France.

Ludot told AFP the distraught fans weren’t planning on seeking payment from Conrad Murray, but “they hoped their status as recognised victims would help them gain access to Jackson's gravesite in Los Angeles, which is closed to the public.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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